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New Streamlined Process Reunifying Parents And Children At The Border; All Set In The Upcoming Trump-Putin Summit In Finland; France Won The World Cup. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 15, 2018 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:00:01]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good afternoon. I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for joining me. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world to our special coverage of the meeting with Presidents Trump and Putin.

We start with breaking news. Right now President Trump has just landed moments ago at Helsinki's airport here in Finland ahead of his big meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The stakes for the summit really even higher now in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's latest indictments against 12 Russian intelligence officers for meddling in the U.S. election. But President Trump is setting the bar low for the summit, although his ambassador has called it -- said it's not a summit. He is saying it is, saying he's not going in with high expectations and a source tells CNN there is still no set organized agenda for the talks.

We're just hours away from the start of that meeting. One thing the president has publicly promised, that he'll raise the topic of election meddling with Putin. But listen to what he told CBS News about the indictments against 12 Russians.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration, and I heard that they were trying or people were trying to hack into the RNC, too, the Republican National Committee, but we had much better defenses. I've been told that by a number of people. We had much better defenses, so they couldn't.

I think the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. I think that getting along with Russia is a good thing, but it's possible we won't. I think we're greatly hampered by this whole witch hunt that's going on in the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, despite all of this, listen to who the president lists first when asked by CBS News about America's biggest foe right now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe. Russia is a foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: European Union president Donald Tusk fired right back, saying, "America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news."

Joining me now with a look ahead to this meeting, CNN senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny.

Jeff, there's certainly been a lot of political chaos leading up to this meeting. What are you expecting?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, there has been. And the president has said repeatedly he does plan to bring up election meddling, but that is really not the question looming over the summit here in Helsinki. It is whether he is going to confront Vladimir Putin about the election meddling, and it's whether he's going to ask for the extradition of those 12 Russian intelligence officers who were named in the indictment on Friday.

So much has happened in this case since the presidents met last fall in Vietnam. And at that point, Vladimir Putin said, look, I believe him when he says he didn't meddle in the election, but the U.S. government, the Department of Justice, has since provided so much more information, really going in depth about specifically what the Russian intelligence officers were doing. So that is the question. Is the president going to go after that?

We got a bit of a sense as the president was flying here -- you can see Air Force One there. He'll be stepping off just momentarily. He answered in a sarcastic way in a message posted online. He said, even if I accused Russia of all their ills over the years and I got the city of Moscow back, he said, I would face criticism because people would expect me to get St. Petersburg as well. So certainly not taking seriously or mentioning specifically the indictment.

But, Anderson, other matters here. The White House really hopes to talk about Syria. They hope to talk about nuclear arms. But we still yet do not have an answer from the White House if the president is going to meet individually one-on-one with Vladimir Putin.

Several Democrats on Capitol Hill, even Republicans as well, said that is inappropriate given what happened with the indictments on Friday. So that is one thing we're waiting for as well. There's been very little information coming out of the White House about specific agenda items. We've not been briefed on it. The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, before that Singapore summit last month, gave a full briefing about what the agenda was. They've been very tight lipped about that. But the question, of

course, is what the level of confrontation is to Vladimir Putin at that summit tomorrow -- Anderson.

COOPER: And Jeff, I mean, is this actually a summit? As we're waiting to see the president and the first lady, I mean, Ambassador Jon huntsman earlier was kind of not using that term, saying that it's not a summit in the sense that there's going to be an official dinner, that there's not -- there really hasn't been a lot of lead-up. There's not already an agenda on the table. Nothing is going to be signed. And the president had seemed to be kind of downplaying this.

[14:05:02] Are they referring to this as a summit?

ZELENY: Anderson, that is what has been an interesting thing. I guess it depends on what your definition of summit is. But the president said in that message this afternoon as he was flying on social media on Twitter, he did call it a summit. And it's been called a summit throughout. In a briefing with reporters about a week or so ago, the White House called it a summit.

The difference here is this. Ambassador Huntsman was saying that there's not going to be a signed statement coming out of this summit, a signed mutual agreement between Russia and the U.S. but the downplaying of this importance of the summit is actually pretty interesting because the reality here is, Anderson, President Putin has already won the biggest victory, even before the handshake happens tomorrow because he is meeting with the American president on the world stage.

He's been isolated by much of the world because of the invasion of Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea, and so many other atrocities. Simply having the meeting is a win. But it's a little odd that they're still debating over whether calling it a summit and downplaying this -- even though the president -- this was President Trump's idea to agree to this meeting -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.

With me now as we wait to see the president stepping off -- and there he is. The president and the first lady just coming out of Air Force One. They'll be greeted here in Helsinki. Then they'll -- they don't have any formal events today, so this really is -- once they get to where they're staying, this would be probably the last we'll see of them today. The more formal event is tomorrow. It's 9:06 p.m. here in Helsinki, although obviously it looks much earlier because of the sun still being out in force.

With me now, as we watch these -- the greetings, with me now is CNN diplomatic correspondent Michelle Kosinski, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, and CNN political affairs analyst and staff writer for "The New Yorker" Susan Glasser.

Michelle, you have some new reporting about what was on the agenda.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, there's a lot here. I mean, first of all, in terms of confrontation, what our sources are saying is that privately Trump is dismissing the idea of getting anywhere on election meddling. So is he likely to confront Putin aggressively or firmly? He says he will bring it up firmly. But what he's saying behind the scenes is that he already knows what Putin will say. So sounds pretty dismissive when he's talking behind closed doors.

But there are some areas where he could make progress. And one thing that's interesting is that sources say it's almost as if President Trump has just had some big briefing on nonproliferation and this renewal of the START treaty with Russia to try to reduce nuclear arms, that he's fired up on this. So I think if there's some deliverable besides this meeting itself, it would be an agreement to start talking about that renewed treaty. But there are plenty of other places, too, where they could make some progress, but it's not as if there's expected to be some major, major points.

COOPER: Susan, you've been critical of the substance of this summit.

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Look, I think Jeff just gave us a really, you know, important rundown of just how unusual this is as a major meeting, whether you call it a summit with a capital S, as the president tweeted just a few hours ago, or you call it a meeting.

This is the most significant, very public forum in which the leader of Russia has met with the American president since the illegal annexation of Crimea. And in that sense, whether you call it a summit or not, what I'm amazed by is that if you go back really three decades, even to the Soviet Union, you've never had such a hastily prepared and apparently ill-conceived meeting between the two leaders.

At least we knew what was on the agenda with North Korea. You know, President Trump claimed there perhaps was more of a deal agreed to than has yet been revealed, but at least we knew what they were talking about. And I think in this summit tomorrow, what I'm struck by is the utter absence of a real agenda.

There are things that they could talk about, whether it's the new START treaty which of course was promoted by President Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, and I think many people who worked hard on that effort are skeptical that once President Trump realizes this was an Obama initiative, that the future of that treaty might not be so safe in his hands after all.

COOPER: David Gergen, it is remarkable. You're going to have President Trump sitting down with Vladimir Putin one on one with translators but no one else, we're told, in the room at the time in Hamburg, the first time they actually met kind of in an offsite at the G20, Rex Tillerson was there for the first meeting. And then in a second talk, it was just Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Putin's interpreter, no American interpreter for the president. That was at a dinner. But there's not -- as far as we know, there won't be a record of what is discussed between these two until others come into the room. DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's correct. And

listen, the president has advertised this is a summit. It is a summit. I think this is -- but it's such -- one of the strangest summits. And it's important to remember, Anderson, there hasn't been a U.S./Russian summit for nine years. All the way back to Obama and Medvedev meeting nine years ago.

[14:10:05] So that carries a lot of weight with it in and of itself, to invite a meeting with the Russian president, coming in and out of hibernation, being marginalized the way he has been. That is what Jeff has been talking about.

COOPER: Even here in Helsinki, there's a significance to the location they chose.

GERGEN: Right. But --

COOPER: Because of past summits.

GERGEN: But in past summits, the president spent days and days trying to figure out what are the four or five scenarios that may unfold as we have this conversation? Where are we trying to go? How do we judge success here? What are the two or three issues. I do think that arms control is the most promising. That would make a claim on both sides of the ocean, that if they could get serious about a new start and then take it on to cyber and to space and other issues, that could be real progress.

Something serious, much more problematic. The central drama, though, is whether he's going to hold Putin accountable after we have this report which is so compelling, shows a sophisticated, relentless operation by the Russian government to steal our election. First time in history we've had a foreign government do that, that we know of. And Putin has consistently lied to the president about what happened. So you would think that the president would be deeply offended by the fact he's dealing with a guy who's been lying.

COOPER: And yet in the public statement by this White House, there was no sense of outrage. There was no sense of anger. Essentially, the president -- the White House was saying, well, you know, this just verifies what we're saying, that there was no collusion. That the Trump team had nothing to do with this. It said nothing about the actual attack on the United States.

KOSINSKI: I feel like he has been practically singing Putin's lines on this for the last several months. Even when we found out he was meeting with Putin, the first thing he said was, well, Putin says he didn't meddle in the election. So you're announcing this, but you're giving the Kremlin's line. And now we hear fake news, witch hunt, and on Trump's way --

GERGEN: Right. And everybody does it. Everybody does it.

KOSINSKI: Yes, and Putin, when he was asked is Putin a ruthless dictator, he said, well, I think he's ruthless in some ways, maybe, but so are many other people. And Russia should be a part of the G8 again. I mean, really hitting this. And on Trump's way over here, he just tweeted that much of the American media is the enemy of the American people. So you can almost see Putin cheering.

COOPER: But there's also when asked -- I think it was yesterday about blame of, you know, Russia for the hack. He was blaming the Democrats for not having better cybersecurity.

GERGEN: Right.

GLASSER: Yes, that was extraordinary. I mean, talk about blaming the victim. But I think this point is really an important point, that the president repeated this term about a witch hunt even in an interview today. So this indictment came out Friday. Remember, he was briefed by the Justice Department before he left on the European trip. And I think that to therefore undermine, you know, the argument of his own government, once again on the eve of the summit, I think really shows you what his agenda is.

And it's something -- that is what makes the summit so extraordinary. We're here in Helsinki, where Bill Clinton had a summit with Boris Yeltsin. That was a historic summit at which the deliverable that was agreed upon was that Russia, having become a democracy, was going to be invited to join the G7 group of industrialized democracies. And they became the G8. And here we are. We've almost come full circle.

The president of the United States has unilaterally volunteered to re- invite Vladimir Putin back into the G7. No one else wants him. It's as if the United States had abandoned all of its previously stated positions.

GERGEN: And look, if he does not confront him, if he continues to be dismissive and cavalier about the past, I do think it's going to deepen the sense in the United States, especially among his critics, that there's something here very big that he's trying to hide or that he's somehow a puppet -- the master puppeteer. And that is just not helpful for American leadership.

COOPER: I mean, for all the talk of this president as, you know, the guy who fires people, he doesn't, and Maggie Haberman has reported this and others, he doesn't like confrontation face to face.

GERGEN: Right. Right.

COOPER: I mean, that often, once he gets face to face, he's sort of buddy-buddy with people. The criticism often comes once that person has left the room.

GERGEN: Right.

KOSINSKI: Yes, and his line has been there's no point to confront or to bring it up again and again when Putin keeps denying it.

GLASSER: Right.

KOSINSKI: But so what -- so what then?

(CROSSTALK)

KOSINSKI: Yes, how about it's the right thing to do for your country and for American democracy?

GERGEN: Yes.

GLASSER: You can have a policy response. I mean, you know, you have senators on CNN and everywhere else. It's two years after the election. The U.S. government hasn't done anything.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. We're going to have more with Michelle and David Gergen, Susan Glasser.

Also, Democrats have been calling on the president to cancel the summit following the news of 12 Russian agents indicted for meddling in the 2016 election, but shouldn't the president engage with Putin on some level? I'll ask a Democratic congressman on the Intelligence Committee next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:19:08] COOPER: Welcome back to our special coverage from Helsinki, Finland. The White House is rejecting the idea of cancelling the summit after Friday's indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers. Today U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon huntsman, defended engaging with Vladimir Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMB. JON HUNTSMAN, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: But what it will be is the first opportunity for these presidents to actually sit down across the table alone and then with their teams to talk about everything from meddling in the election to areas where we have some shared interests.

You got to remember, Chuck, that Russia is a country of 11 time zones. It touches Asia. It touches the Middle East. It touches Western Europe. And it's inconceivable that we can solve some of the international issues without engaging Russia at some level.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Congressman Denny Heck joins me now. He is a Democrat from Washington and a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, thanks for being with us. What about Jon Huntsman's point, that Russia is obviously a major player in the world and politics, and it's essential to engage them at some level if you want to get international issues resolved and frankly just for world security?

[14:20:08] REP. DENNY HECK (D), WASHINGTON: So I'll answer that question, Anderson, but first I want to stipulate that it is a colossally bad idea for the president within 72 hours of the indictments to sit down with Putin and in effect reward him thusly. But look, he's going to do it, so yes, I think he ought to engage him. And if he were to call me and ask me, which he's not going to do, what should I say to Vladimir Putin, I'd tell him this.

Here's what you should say to him. Mr. Putin, we have the goods on you. You interfered in our election. You struck a blow at the heart of democracy, which is the rule of law and the conduct of free, fair, and open elections, and it will not be tolerated. Number two, we demand that you extradite the 12 officers. They're uniform officers of the intelligence service. If you have any prayer of anybody believing you're not the ring master, which I think you are, then turn them over to us.

Number three, I'm going to walk out of this meeting, and I'm going to announce to the world that I'm upping the sanctions. We're going broader and deeper on your oligarch friends. We're going to hit you where it hurts, in your pocketbook. Because let me say it again. We will not tolerate. Democrats, Republicans, liberals, and conservatives, we will not tolerate your interference in American elections, in American democracy, or all Western democracies.

If he pursues that form of engagement, I'm all for it, Anderson.

COOPER: I don't think you're going to be holding your breath, though. I mean, every public statement that this president has made has not echoed really any of those things. I mean, even the fact it's unlikely that Vladimir Putin would either admit the Russian meddling in the election or certainly agree to extradite Russian intelligence officers.

Would it really be wise for the president to kind of lay down the gauntlet on that, not that he shows any indication that he's likely to do that? If you know they're not going to do it, doesn't it sort of set you up to look like you've called him on something and then he says no and then you have no recourse?

HECK: Absolutely it makes sense. This cannot be tolerated, Anderson, period, full stop. There are only one of two things that has been happening here. Either Putin has simply outsmarted the president at every turn, which is highly conceivable, or the president has in effect been complicit or his puppet because as was suggested earlier, Putin's got something on the president. I don't know what that is or if that's the case, but those are the only two possible explanations for the president's inexplicable attitude, behavior, and opinion to call Russian interference for the better part of a year all a hoax, which it clearly is not.

COOPER: What he seems, at least in the most recent interview, to have done is really rather than blame Russia, is to blame the DNC for the hack because -- saying they should have defended themselves better.

HECK: Yes, if the Russians had wanted to exfiltrate information from the Republicans, they would have.

But, Anderson, I'm going to remind you, this is the same president who denied that there was any Russian interference for the better part of a year. He continues to deny any collusion, even though collusion is hiding in plain sight. He now is asserting that the Obama administration is guilty here when, in fact, the Obama administration launched the investigation in July of 2016, which he disapproved of. So his statements of late are met with a lack of credibility.

COOPER: The National Intelligence Director Dan Coats he's warning that alarm bells are ringing over Russia and its election meddling. Knowing that -- knowing this, I'm wondering what Congress is prepared to do to step up the defense of the U.S. elections.

HECK: So Congress has already done a couple of things. First of all, we upped the sanction authority that the president has, which he has to date refused to fully implement. And the Congress also approved, as I recall, $380 million for state elections officials and local elections officials to harden their IT systems and make sure that the Russians are not going to be successful.

Let's be very clear, Anderson, about the new territory we crossed over into with these latest indictments. The first, of course, I've already referred to. Uniformed personnel of the Russian intelligence service. We have the goods on them. It's inconceivable that Putin was not only aware of it but was frankly the ring master behind it. But secondly, and very, very disturbingly, they not only infiltrated state voter registration database, but they also exfiltrated information from it.

This is very, very serious stuff. The only more serious stuff they could have taken was to actually have manipulated the election tally and outcome, which we don't think they did. But they are only half a step away from doing that as they continue their disinformation campaign in America. Not only in America but other Western democracies.

COOPER: Yes, frightening. Congressman Heck, I appreciate your time. Thanks very much. A lot to look for in the coming days.

CNN's special coverage of the upcoming Trump-Putin summit continues in just a moment. There's also a lot of news happening back in the U.S. For that, I also want to go over right now to Martin Savidge -- Martin.

[14:25:04] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Anderson.

A federal judge is accusing the Trump administration of trying to provide cover for its slow efforts in reunifying families separated at the border. We'll have a live report straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: A federal judge is criticizing the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency declared its streamlined efforts to reunify migrant families by a court imposed deadline later this month could actually be more harmful to the children, and that is because HHS says it has stopped DNA testing of possible parents.

[14:30:00] The judge accuses HHS of using that argument as cover, adding the declaration is entirely inconsistent with the explicit pronouncements from the highest levels of the government. And this court's orders and calls into question the court's previous statement that defendants are acting in good faith in their attempts to reunify members by the currently imposed deadlines.

A lot of legalese in that. CNN's Rosa Flores is in McAllen, Texas for us.

And Rosa, what can you tell us about the whole reunification plan, especially this new one?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, about this new streamlined process, we have learned from the government that it's supposed to take place in six to eight different facilities. And all eligible parents will be taken to these facilities, interviewed, asked if they are willing to reunite with their children. And then the children would be transferred into ICE custody and sent to those facilities where the unifications will be happening.

Now, here is what the government will not be doing. They say that they will not be doing DNA tests and that they will not be checking the backgrounds of the other individuals, the other adults where these children are expected to end up -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: And Rosa, what are the risks if there is no verification process for the children and their parents?

FLORES: You know, according to HHS, they have said that these children could end up in dangerous situations. They could end up with people with criminal backgrounds. They could end up with traffickers. And yet they have given other examples as well.

But as you mentioned, the judge firing back in this order, saying that HHS either doesn't understand the order or is acting in defiance of that order. And then the judge also saying to be clear that this order does include checking the parentage, the fitness, and the danger of the children in this case and that the U.S. government has no excuse to sacrifice any of those things because according to this judge, the U.S. government has the resources to do all of it and to do it in time.

SAVIDGE: Right. In other words, the court may see this as some kind of an excuse.

All right. Rosa Flores, thanks very much for that.

New progress today is being reported in the effort to return the remains of U.S. service members missing from the Korean War. Representatives from North Korea and the United States say they have committed to meetings beginning tomorrow focusing on next steps. They have agreed to transfer the remains already collected and to restart efforts to search for the 5300 U.S. troops who never came home. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo called that meeting productive and cooperative.

Still ahead, we will take you live back to Helsinki, where the President is preparing for his face-to-face meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Will he bring up the Russian agents indicted for meddling in the 2016 election?

Our special coverage continues next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:37:35] COOPER: Welcome back. We are live in Helsinki, Finland where from the (INAUDIBLE) which is an incredibly beautiful spot right along the water here in Helsinki. You can see the Presidential palace behind me, which is where the historic meeting between President Trump and Putin will take place less than 24 hours from now.

Mr. Trump says he expects to bring up Russian meddling in the U.S. election when they meet face to face. This comes as Trump's homeland security director is warning state officials that Russia is still a threat to U.S. elections and some Democrats worry the Trump administration isn't doing enough to stop them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VICE CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: In a normal administration because elections touch federal, state, and local, there would be someone designated out of the White House on election security to make sure there's better coordination. Because as you mentioned, even the Trump election or intelligence officials have said Russians will be back.

I think it's an embarrassment that this White House has not made election security a top priority and has not put the kind of attention and focus on it that we need. The truth is, I'm not sure we're fully prepared.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: With me now is CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin, who was Robert Mueller's special assistant at the department of justice. Also with me is Rajesh De who is the chairman of the cybersecurity practice at Mayor Brown and the former general counsel of the NSA.

Rajesh, how concerned should Americans be right now about Russia continuing to interfere in U.S. elections? Is this administration at the highest levels doing enough?

RAJESH DE, CYBERSECURITY PRACTICE CHAIRMAN, MAYOR BROWN: Thanks, Anderson. We should be very concerned. When we speak about the timing of this indictment, everyone is focused on the Trump-Putin meeting, but one interesting aspect is that just hours after the indictment was issued, the head of U.S. intelligence, Dan Coats, gave a public speech in which he talked about the cyber threat we're facing today. And he has specifically noted that the Russians are the most aggressive adversary we face. And frighteningly, he used the same words to describe the cyber threat today as the former head of the CIA, George Tenet, used to describe the terrorist threat before 9/11. He said the system is blinking red.

COOPER: Michael, I mean, the fact that he is using the exact same terminology, that is not a coincidence. If anything, it's trying to raise a red flag, a comparison to pre-9/11 security issues. MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. They are vastly different,

of course, 9/11 and this cyber intrusion into our election process. Really not quite comparable. But it is true that meddling in our election system is not good for our democracy. And that we should be taking efforts at the state and federal level to make sure that we have safeguards in place to prevent it and that we're aggressively pursuing those who have hacked it as Mueller has to bring them to justice when we can.

[14:40:28] COOPER: Rajesh, I mean, had Russian agents actually flown to the United States, broke into the headquarters of the DNC, broken into John Podesta's office, stolen documents, attempted to break into other offices as well. It's hard to imagine that this administration's response would be the same as it is for what has been a cyberattack. I mean, it just really raises the question if they are taking it seriously.

And why is it important that the President himself be holding cabinet level meetings about this, coordinating efforts? Because you have the FBI, you have Chris Wray testifying saying that the FBI is working on it. You have various intelligence agencies saying they're working on it. Is that enough?

DE: You are right. If it had been a physical break-in, most Americans, I think, would viscerally understand the import of what happened. But that's part of the reason why the Mueller team's recent indictment is so important, because it lays out in very granular detail, very specific detail exactly what Russian officials did to meddle in the 2016 election. And it brings together lots of threads that everyone has heard about but hasn't thought of together. Whether it's the hacking of the DNC and the Clinton campaign, whether it's the covert dissemination of lots of stolen materials or whether it was the hacking of state board elections and voter rolls. All of this is part of the coordinated campaign.

To your question about the highest levels of leadership, the government works very well when it's directed from the very top. This was a lesson we learned in the 9/11 commission where I worked and how important Presidential leadership is to have all the arms of government providing a unity of effort for such an important task.

ZELDIN: That's right. And Anderson, if I may add to that. What we note from a compliance environment context is exactly what Rajesh said. What we have here is effective tone in the middle. Chris Wray and the justice department and the intelligence agencies, they are the middle sphere of this thing. They have got the right tone. We are waiting for the tone at the top, the President, to embolden these people to continue with their work and not feel that they may have their legs cut out from under them. That's what is really missing at this point.

COOPER: Well, you know, Michael, it's interesting. We were talking about the indictment of the 12 Russian intelligence agents accused of the hack. In that indictment, it doesn't mention the statement from then-candidate Trump calling on Russia to find Hillary Clinton's missing emails, which the Trump team at the time said, look, that's a joke. The indictment points out that the Russians made their first effort to break into Hillary Clinton's private email server that very same day. I mean, and some are questioning if that's a coincidence. I want to play something that congressman Schiff said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (R-CA), RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: You know, it could be a coincidence that the Mueller team puts the same date, an action that same date in the indictment, but it can't be a coincidence that they actually put the time of day. Why is that significant unless you are comparing it to the time when Donald Trump made that statement?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Michael, you worked with special counsel Mueller, not on this investigation, but what do you make of him including not only that date but the time in the indictment? Is it a coincidence?

ZELDIN: No, I think there's a causality that's being shown there. That one thing led to the other thing. I can't think that this is just coincidence. And I think Mueller is being quite specific in pointing that out. Not to make a political point, necessarily, but just to show how when you are reckless in your language, it could have consequences. And in this case, that offhanded remark by candidate Trump that Russia, if you are listening, did, in fact, have consequences and that one has to be very careful in their political life to not embolden those who might take advantage of that, as was done in this case.

COOPER: Michael Zeldin, Rajesh De, I appreciate your time. Thanks very much.

The question is, what does Putin think about the upcoming summit with President Trump? Apparently he is cautiously optimistic. That's a quote. A live report straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:50:10] COOPER: And welcome back. I'm Anderson Cooper live in Helsinki, Finland, continuing our special coverage of the upcoming summit between President Trump and Russian Vladimir Putin.

Truly, anticipation has been building now for quite some time. Mr. Putin is getting rave reviews at home over the success of the world cup. They still have a great deal, of course, for Russia.

Our senior international correspondent Matthew Chance has been in Moscow for years. He has based in Moscow for years. He is here in Helsinki now for the summit.

What is Vladimir Putin hoping to get out of this? There's no set agenda here.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, there is not. And I think that probably back in the Kremlin, over there in Moscow, they already see this as a political win.

COOPER: How so?

CHANCE: Because, you know, they have been isolated by much of the international community for several years over the various malign activities. They have been accused of and sanctioned by the United States. People won't talk to them. Now Putin, without changing his behavior, without surrendering any of that, still got Crimea, still intervening in eastern Ukraine.

COOPER: The same is being said, of course, with Kim Jong-un.

CHANCE: Right. (INAUDIBLE). And so it's a win already. But in addition to that, you know, I think they are hoping for some kind of concession from President Trump. We don't know what that might be. Already at NATO, a couple days ago President Trump sort of randomly said, you know, if President Putin requests it, we will consider talking about stopping military exercises in the Baltics.

COOPER: Which would be -- it's a stunning thing to telegraph, saying if the President suggests that, we might look into it.

CHANCE: Absolutely. And he hadn't suggested that. Also, just surrendering that without anything in return is odd for somebody who sees himself as a deal maker.

COOPER: How popular is Vladimir Putin in Russia now?

CHANCE: I think he is still very popular. But I mean, I think it's also true that, you know, the economic situation in Russia, which has been in decline for the past couple years because of sanctions partly, has had an impact on that. But he is still riding high in the popularity polls. And there's no other political figure in Russia that gets anywhere near him. It's still like 80 percent approval ratings, the kind of approval ratings President Trump would absolutely sort of kill for. But he still got that.

But this enhances it. You know, the fact that he is the great statesman, standing astride the global geopolitical community, just hosting the world cup.

COOPER: Right.

CHANCE: It is coming straight from that, on to a plane, meeting the most powerful man in the world, the President of the United States. That looks good for Putin.

COOPER: Well, Matthew Chance, thank you very much. A lot to watch for in the coming days.

CNN's special live coverage of the upcoming Trump-Putin summit continues. Right now, big news from the world cup as Matthew has mentioned. For

that, I want to get over to Martin Savidge -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Thanks, Anderson. Yes, France has won the world cup for the first time in 20 years. We will get a live report from Moscow stadium next.

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[14:57:22] SAVIDGE: Twenty years after its first world cup win, France took the title again today with a 4-2 victory over Croatia. The underdog Croatians put up a very valiant fight, but ultimately France lived up to its winning expectations and became the world champions for the second time.

CNN's Amanda Davies is outside the stadium in Moscow.

Amanda, are the fans still celebrating there now?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Martin. It's two hours since full time, and there are still an incredible number of fans leaving the stadium here. As you see on the top of the stadium, it says France 2018 world champions. And the fans really are enjoying their moment.

It was a final, really, that's been as unpredictable as the last five weeks of football. France, as you said, many people's pretournament favorites, up against the minnows of Croatia in the world cup final for the first time. A population in that country of just over four million people. So often these world cup finals are tight, close encounters, but this absolutely wasn't.

As a raging thunderstorm was playing out above us, the atmosphere inside was electric. Thousands of fans from both countries in there supporting their side. And really while Croatia had the better of the chances. It was France who struck first. And despite the fact Croatia kept plugging away, ultimately it was the French experience. It was the French expertise from really widely regarded as one of the best squads in terms of talent in this tournament that came to the fore.

And they, as you said, are crowned world champions for the second time, 20 years after they won the world cup on home soil in 1998.

SAVIDGE: Love to see that celebration going on in France there.

Amanda Davies, thank you very much for that.

CNN's special live coverage of the Helsinki summit continues now with Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And a good afternoon to you. Thanks for joining me. I'm Anderson Cooper live in Helsinki, Finland.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world to our special coverage of the summit with Presidents Trump and Putin. It's just 10:00 p.m. here in a still (INAUDIBLE), a very sunny Helsinki. We are hours away from that meeting of the two leaders.

Mr. Trump just arriving here in Helsinki at the site of the summit. He's at his hotel for the night and will meet with President Putin in the morning. The stakes for this summit even higher now in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller's latest indictment against 12 Russian intelligence tapsters for meddling in the U.S. election.

Listen to what President Trump told CBS News about NATO.